Monday, 16 September 2013

Email to Tonbridge & Malling Association Members re Parliamentary Selection



With the deadline approaching for potential parliamentary candidates to submit their application form, it is understandable that they will be seeking as much local information as possible. This has resulted in many councillors and activists receiving random phone calls asking for meetings to discuss local issues. One councillor who spoke to me over the weekend received eight calls, which he understandably found intrusive.

Whilst any decision to meet or speak to applicants is one for you to make personally, my general advice to all members is that this should be avoided, particularly if you are a member of the Executive Council and will therefore be on the interview panel. If you do agree to speak to an applicant, as a matter of fairness, you should offer the same opportunity to all of them (and there is likely to be 300!). To talk to some and not others could be considered as unfair, and regardless of what is or isn't said at such a meeting, applicants who have not had the opportunity to talk to you may feel disadvantaged. Imagine if you had applied for a job and you discovered after the interview that a number of the other applicants had held private meetings with members of the interviewing panel. You would naturally feel that those applicants had received special treatment and had an advantage. I think we should do all that we can to avoid any such feelings and ensure there is a level playing field for everyone.

I have produced a written "constituency briefing" which is available via the Association's website or it can be emailed to applicants if they contact the Association office. If you are contacted, I strongly recommend that you ask the caller to phone or email the office for a copy of the briefing paper. This will not only save you a great deal of time but will also ensure that all applicants are treated equally and fairly.

With best wishes


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